Gender Ministry engages stakeholders to end child marriage at Nkwanta North

By Kingsley Mamore

Dambai (O/R) June 7, GNA – The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has organised consultative workshop on child marriage and harmful cultural practices in the Nkwanta north District of the Oti Region.

The consultative workshop was to sensitise, raise awareness and share information on issues about child marriages and other negative cultural practices that impede the progress of women and girls and relegate them to subservient roles in their communities.

Ms Dakoa Newman, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, in an address read on her behalf, said the 2021 Population and Housing Census revealed that approximately 79,733 girls aged 12 to 17 years were married.

She explained that the situation was particularly prevalent in regions such as Northeast, Northern, Savannah, Upper West, Upper East and Oti Region, where factors such as adolescent pregnancy contributed significantly to the high incidence of child marriage.

Ms Newman indicated that the Nkwanta North District, 1,014 children aged 12 to 17 years had ever been in union, with 43.0 per cent being males and 57.0 per cent being females.

She said such early unions often led to poor health outcomes, increased risks of maternal and child mortality, disrupted education, further entrenching poverty and gender inequality.

Ms Newman said as part of Ghana’s pledge and commitment to eliminate child marriage, MOGCSP had developed a National Strategic Framework for ending child marriage and that was being implemented by the Child Marriage Unit of the Ministry.

She called on stakeholders to promote the prevention of early child marriages among other harmful cultural practices against women and girls in the area.

Mr Innocent Komla Agbolosu, the Oti Regional Director of Social Welfare mentioned that children must be conscious of their responsibilities which go with their rights.

He admonished the participants to ensure that other community members who were not beneficiaries of the forum be educated about children’s rights and responsibilities as discussed at the workshop.

Mr Agbolosu urged parents to provide necessities of life for their children as expected by law so that they grow and make them proud.